Car

Feels Like Driving In The Future by Gavin Lau

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 1.58.48 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKL4PJICS40 We're based in the Mission District of San Francisco. Navdy was founded by entrepreneur Doug Simpson and serial inventor Karl Guttag, and is supported by a highly accomplished veteran team. In 2013 Navdy went through the acclaimed Highway 1 Incubator program and continues to work closely with Highway 1’s parent, PCH International, whose world class supply chain and manufacturing capabilities are used by companies such as Apple, Beats, and Google.

Android and iOS users spend 32%... by Gavin Lau

flurry_time_spent_android_ios

Android and iOS users in the US spend an average of 2 hours and 42 minutes every day using apps on smartphones and tablets (up just four minutes compared to last year). Of that, 86 percent (or 2 hours and 19 minutes) is spent inside apps, while the remaining 14 percent (or 22 minutes, down 6 percentage points compared to last year) is spent on the mobile Web using a browser. These latest figures come from mobile firm Flurry, which provides analytics and ad tools that developers integrate into their apps. The company collected data between January 2014 and March 2014 and concluded that “apps, which were considered a mere fad a few years ago, are completely dominating mobile” while the browser “has become a single application swimming in a sea of apps.”

Here are the results in graph form:

Just like last year, games took first place with 32 percent of time spent. Social and messaging applications increased their share from 24 percent to 28 percent, entertainment and utility applications maintained their positions at 8 percent each, while productivity apps saw their share double from 2 percent to 4 percent.

It’s worth underlining that Facebook’s share dipped a bit from 18 percent to 17 percent. Nevertheless, Facebook still has the lion’s share of time spent in the US, and was able to maintain its position with the help of Instagram. Flurry argues that position will become even more cemented, if not increased, once the acquisition of WhatsApp closes.

This year, Flurry broke out YouTube separately, which shows us it owns a whopping 50 percent of the entertainment category. We’ll be watching closely to see if it manages to grow its 4 percent share of time spent.

“It is still too early to predict the trajectory apps will take in 2014,” Flurry admits. “But one thing is clear – apps have won and the mobile browser is taking a back seat.” Unless this trend reverses, we can expect many more acquisitions from tech companies the size of Facebook and Google.

 

Source: http://tnw.to/q3Jet

Apple CarPlay hands-on by Gavin Lau

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 23.13.40

Apple's in-car infotainment system has been a long time coming. After it was announced at the company's annual WWDC conference in June last year, "iOS in the Car" flew under the radar, only to undergo a rebrand and launch publicly yesterday under a new moniker: CarPlay. Sharing part of its name with the company's AirPlay media-streaming protocol, CarPlay combines all of the iPhone's most important features and mirrors them inside the car, allowing car owners to call, text, navigate and listen to music (and more) using touch- or Siri-based voice inputs. The new in-car interface is compatible with new Ferrari, Mercedes and Volvo models unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show, and it's there that we got the chance to test Apple's automotive assistant inside a suitably equipped Ferrari FF coupe. Will CarPlay force you to buy an iPhone to go with your car (or vice versa)? Not really -- the Ferrari we tried actually deployed Apple's dash system alongside its own, while Mercedes-Benz and Volvo (two of Apple's other partners) have said they'll continue todevelop Android and MirrorLink solutions for their new models. Compatible with the iPhone 5 and up, CarPlay is "loaded" into the Ferrari's built-in navigation system by way of a Lightning adapter located underneath the armrest. Wireless connections are coming, at least from Volvo, but our test was limited to traditional cables. Once it's connected, Ferrari will continue to utilize its own infotainment system, but users can load CarPlay by hitting a dedicated dashboard button, allowing all touch and voice inputs to be diverted to your iPhone. This loads the CarPlay dashboard, which features a familiar array of icons and services you'll recognize from your iPhone. From here, it's a case of using the touchscreen or calling upon Siri to load each of the services -- the latter of which can be summoned with the Siri Eyes Free button located on the reverse of the steering wheel.

The first thing we noticed is how speedy everything is. Apps load quickly, and Siri's contextual algorithms hastily recognized our voice commands and responded appropriately. Apple has also implemented safety features to ensure services do not draw your attention away from the road and push forward its "hands-free" theme. For example, when we sent or received a message from a contact, Siri would only read the message back to us and we never once got the chance to see its contents. An Apple representative was able to talk us through each CarPlay feature, so do make sure you check out our in-depth hands-on video above to get a better idea of what Apple and its car maker buddies are aiming for.

 

Source: http://engt.co/1gOId5x

Apple CarPlay by Gavin Lau

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 0.50.45

Apple CarPlay Apple’s CarPlay is close to being available in the wild via partnerships with a handful of car manufacturers, and Volvo is already showing off what that will look like in practice. The car maker just posted a video to their YouTube account that provides a glimpse at how the system works.

CarPlay will work with a variety of different kinds of infotainment systems, including those with touchscreens, as displayed in the video, and those that use physical controls. Volvo’s integration also allows them to control features and services using steering wheel-mounted controls, and the first vehicle to sport the interface will be the XC90 SCUV, which is coming to market later this year.

Volvo offers up some interesting technical tidbits about how CarPlay works, too. The connection works via H.264 video streaming, that then gathers touch input from the console screen and relays it back to the connected device. The name ‘CarPlay’ is evocative of Apple’s AirPlay, and it sounds like the tech is similar in some ways between the two.

One final detail shared by Volvo in its press release: while currently CarPlay requires a physical Lightning cable connection, Volvo says Wi-Fi connectivity is coming in the “near future.” That could potentially open up access to devices like the iPhone 4S, which is still on sale but which uses a 30-pin connector, but Apple’s CarPlay site clearly states iPhone 5 and newer required for use, so it’s more likely this will just provide another connectivity option for owners of those devices.

 

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/03/volvo-shows-apple-carplay-in-new-video-says-wi-fi-connectivity-is-coming-soon

Dear Car Makers: Please Hire People Like This by Gavin Lau

car-inter

How touch screen controls in cars should work The interfaces in modern cars are, with rare exception, awful.

It’s almost absurd, really. The car is one of the most expensive things that people buy for themselves. It’s massive. It’s got a power supply that lasts for days… and yet, it’s one of the least “smart” devices in our lives. A three-year old tablet headed for the recycling bin puts the stock interface in most cars to shame.

The operating systems are slow, and often bug-riddled. If there’s a touchscreen, it’s almost certainly a crappy, low-res screen using yesteryear’s touch technology.

Worst of all, they’re dangerous. Over the last few years, touchscreens have become fairly standard in many new, mid-range lines. Which is great! The problem? Manufacturers didn’t really go about it right. Rather than seizing the opportunity to design something entirely new around touch, they just took all of the physical, oh-so-pressable buttons they once splayed across the dash and crammed them onto a touchscreen. Haptics? Sensible, spatial design? Whatever, we’ve got a touchscreen! Shiny!

As a result, actions that once required but a pinch of muscle memory (like, say, changing the station) now require you to take your eyes off the road entirely, lest you blindly jam your finger into the wrong button in that flat sea of glass.

Voice control is a strong contender here — perhaps more so than in any other space, really. But that’s yet another place where cars are lagging. As Google’s voice recognition approaches an almost terrifyingly accurate level, I’m still finding myself angrily shouting at my 2014 model car while it fails to figure out which of six possible commands I’m saying.

Thankfully, both Apple and Google have realized the massive space to be won here, and are actively working to take the manufacturers and their terrible design work out of the mix. It won’t happen overnight — but in just a few years, interacting with our cars should be a whole lot less awful.

In the meantime, let us all drool over this just-posted concept video by Matthaeus Krenn, whose LinkedIn profile lists his last job as being a product designer at Cue — the team behind the titular Cue personal assistant app that was acquired by Apple back in October.

Is it perfect? No. Amongst other things, it requires users to learn and memorize how to control an interface, rather than working in a way that they can discover naturally. Is three fingers A/C control or audio source control?

But we need more of this. We need more smart people thinking about how we interact with our cars, especially as touchscreens become more and more common. When we’re steering what is essentially a 2-ton metal missile down the street, skipping to the next song shouldn’t be a dangerous decision.

 

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/18/dear-car-makers-please-hire-people-like-this